On a bitterly cold November Saturday at the Lakeside Centre Ballyshannon Rugby Club unleashed the performance of the season upon a Banbridge team who were sitting in third place in the league and had travelled with a big physical side but who just could contain a blistering performance from the home side.
Ballyshannon RFC 64
Banbridge RFC 5
After two horrendous seasons that nearly resulted in the demise of senior rugby in the area the transformation to date has been unrecognisable. The introduction of Ray Gallagher as player/coach at the start of the season has transformed the side and has seen a bond form among the team that has instilled a level of belief and confidence not seen for some time in the club. Each week Gallagher is presented with a major problem and that is who to include and who to leave out of his match panel of 18 and this problem has seen hugely positive numbers each week at training.
It was a ten try demolition along with seven conversions that cemented ’Shannon’s’’position as league leaders and will put them into the first round of the cup in two weeks time brimming with confidence.
The tries came early through Darragh Tyrell. A mercurial Mark Rooney (who had been studying YouTube replays of Dan Carter) traded scores with an imposing Richard Gallagher throughout the first half to give ‘Shannon a commanding lead at the half way mark.
Following a rousing Dermot Connolly half time speech the team came out with fire in their bellies, straight away a terrible kick off was caught by the aforementioned Connolly who carried 10 yards and handed off to the ever available Darragh Tyrrell who took a crash ball and in doing so took a gouge to the eye from his own Dominic Gillespie. The ball then spread to the far wing and came back across to a 22 metre line out for Ballyshannon which an eyeless Darragh Tyrrell brought a terrific maul over for his second try.
Shannon continued their domination until the end scoring 10 tries and 7 conversions. Shannon’s scores as a whole came from Daragh Tyrell (2), Mark Rooney (2), Richard Gallagher (2), John Treacy, Tom Dillon, Anthony Coughlin and James O Donnell.
Ballyshannon have a well deserved week end off this weekend but will face Clogher Valley at the Lakeside on December 8th in the first round of the McCambley Cup and it would be great to see as much local support as possible!
Saturdays team was: Brian Killalea, Alan Prendergast, Paul Cassidy, Anthony Coughlin, Richard Gallagher, Dom Gillespie, James O Donnell, Darragh Tyrell, Paul Connolly, Dermot Connolly, Mark Rooney, John Treacy, Dermot Connolly, Kealan Mc Nulty and Daire Keown. Subs used Darren Gillespie, Anthony Boyle and Ray Gallagher
Ballyshannon Ladies 0
Carrickfergus Ladies 3
In a tough and bruising encounter at a bitterly cold Lakeside Centre Ballyshannon succumbed to a teak tough and more experienced Carrick side to lose by a single penalty kick scored on the day. The only score of the game came after just five minutes when Carrick out half Arlene Devine slotted over a penalty which was eventually was to decide the game.
In a full 15 a side game Ballyshannon failed to find the space that they had enjoyed in previous matches and but for some solid defending on their own line Carrick could have been out of sight by half time.
This was a stern test for the Ballyshannon Ladies and will have gained great experience from the encounter and depending on the results from the last few games Ballyshannon could still be in with a shout for league title honours.
The Ballyshannon team was: Lynda Loughlin, Katrina Dolan, Yvette Morrow, Corin Cahill, Charlene Loughlin, Dearbhla Fox, Leanne O Doherty, Michelle Bowering, Siobhan Coughlin, Carmel Simms Gallagher, Pauline Mc Nulty, Danika Doherty, Lorraine Mc Gee, Janet Kerr and Anna Rafferty. Subs: Mairead Carty, Louise Collins.